The Central Drakensberg is perhaps the most spectacular region of the majestic Drakensberg. The Central Drakensberg is the country's highest and most impressive mountain range rising to over 3000 meters.
The Central Drakensberg escarpment is frequently covered in snow in the winter months, transforming the area into a picture-postcard winter wonderland. Popular with hikers, rock climbers, trout fishermen, and other holidaymakers, the Central Drakensberg area offers a wide range of hotels, country lodges, and bed and breakfast accommodation venues, as well as camping sites and caravan parks. For the more adventurous there are also many trails which use caves up in the mountains as overnight stops. A weekend of hiking and climbing, interspersed with dips in the icy pools and rivers, goes a long way to restoring those weary of city life.
Most of the Central Drakensberg makes up a good part of the Natal Drakensberg Park, a wilderness area with an abundance of wildlife. Hikers are frequently surprised by bushbuck, oribi, mountain reedbuck, tiny duiker, and the largest of South Africaís antelope species, the eland, as well as many others. Enormous lammergeier, or bearded vultures, fly overhead and baboons bark from the cliffs. The spring is heralded by carpets of wild flowers and the pink and orange watsonia, like miniature gladioli, bloom thickly on the hillsides. In autumn the fields and lower reaches of the Drakensberg are often a waist-high sea of confetti-like pink, white and deep velvet red cosmos blossoms. In the higher reaches on the slopes of the Little Berg, varieties of protea trees show their prehistoric flowers, and ancient tree ferns and the odd cycad dot the gullies. Hikers should note that there are 24 species of snakes in these mountains, and not all of them are willing to give way to humans!
The Central Drakensberg mountains also contain thousands of Bushman painting sites, evidence of the small, primitive San people who practiced a prehistoric life style in the area long ago. The earliest of these paintings are about 800 years old, and the golden age of the painters was between 400 and 200 years ago.
The Drakensberg is divided into the following regions:
|Drakensberg Region||Major Drakensberg locations||Main access routes through|
|Northern Drakensberg||1. Mont-aux-Sources, Royal Natal National Park, Amphitheatre, Rugged Glen Nature Reserve||Phuthaditjhaba (Witsieshoek) Bergville|
|2. Singati Valley, Ifidi, Mnweni & Ntonjelana valleys, the Mnweni cutback, Mponjwane, the Saddle||Bergvillle Ď|
|Central Drakensberg||3. Mlambonja Wilderness Area, Cathedral
Peak, Ndumeni, Organ Pipes, Ndedema Gorge
|4. Mdedelelo Wilderness Area, Cathkin Peak, Monkís Cowl, Champagne Castle||Winterton, Loskop|
|5. Injasuti, Giantís Castle Game Reserve||Estcourt Loskop, Mooi River, Nottingham Road|
|Southern 'Berg||6. Mkhomazi Wilderness Area, Loteni, Highmoor, Kamberg, Vergelegen, Sani Pass||Nottingham Road, Himeville|
|7. Mzimkhulu Wilderness Area, Mzimkhulwana Nature Reserve, Garden Castle, Rhino, Bushmanís Nek, Giantís Cup Hiking Trail||Himeville, Underberg|
|8. Sehlabathebe National Park, Thomathu, Devilís Knuckles, Ramatseliso's Nek||
Underberg, Swartberg, Nottingham Road Himeville
The Antbear Guesthouse